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Windtalkers

3.6 out of 5 stars 572 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

During WWII, two U.S. Marines are assigned to protect two Navajo Marines code talkers. These men know a secret radio code that is much valuable than their individual lives.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Nicolas Cage, Adam Beach, Peter Stormare, Noah Emmerich, Mark Ruffalo
  • Directors: John Woo
  • Writers: Joe Batteer, John Rice
  • Producers: Alison R. Rosenzweig, Arthur Anderson, C.O. Erickson, Caroline Macaulay, John J. Smith
  • Format: Full Screen, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround), French (Dolby Surround), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2004
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (572 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JK8K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,510 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Windtalkers" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Windtalkers is the story of two American soldiers (one played by Christian Slater, the other played by Nic Cage) who are assigned to protect two Navajo soldiers who work as windtalkers, transmitting messages past Japanese codebreakers using their code based on Navajo language.
Yes, there's a lot of violence. Yes, it's grim. The bodyguards, Cage and Slater, are instructed to kill the windtalkers rather than let them fall into enemy hands.
This is a big war movie, not quite on the scale of Saving Private Ryan, but somewhere between something that grand and magnificent and, say, Behind Enemy Lines. Cage and Slater do a good job with their parts, which aren't very fully fleshed out characters.
Woo's direction used to be so over-the-top and artsy... the fight scenes used to be like cartoons, with bad guy and good guy blazing away at each other with two pistols... the most violent scenes were often preceded by or accompanying flocks of birds taking to flight, and bullet-riddled bodies always seem to pirouet in slow motion before they fall down dead. Woo has left a lot of the old personal director's style out of this one, actually. There ARE a lot of bullets, and a lot of the fighting scenes are very unrealistic (true to old Woo there), and there is one scene very reminiscent of old John Woo, where a butterfly floats gracefully above a river then suddenly a bloody body falls into that river, destroying the gorgeous image, juxtaposing a graceful natural image with a gory violent one, etc.
ANYWAY, mostly this is a shoot 'em up war movie, and the old John Woo style is MOSTLY absent.
The story has that one feature going for it, the protection of the Navajo codetalkers, but otherwise it's a very standard war movie, in terms of plot.
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As a nephew of a Navajo Code Talker, I would like to express my thoughts on WINDTALKERS.

First of all, if the focus of a Navajo Code Talker movie is supposed to focus on the Navajo Code Talkers and their involvement in WWII, why is the movie centered around Nicolas Cage's character while Adam Beach and Roger Willie play supporting roles?

Second, since a lot of folks are not informed about this part of WWII history, wouldn't it have been a much better movie if they showed the origin of the Code Talkers before they faced the horrors of war in the Pacific Theatre?

My uncle stood proud among the surviving Code Talkers as they were recently honored for their service in the Pacific. (note: at the beginning of the movie, he is the elder in the hat that talks to Yahzzie before he gets on the bus. He also served as technical consultant.) I'm sure after seeing the movie and having survived WWII, I doubt he enjoyed seeing the Code Talkers' back-burner depiction in the film.

Nice "action" movie, though.
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From mid-1942 to the end of the Pacific war, approximately 400 Navajo Indians served in all six Marine divisions, Marine Raider battalions and Marine parachute units as "code talkers". Their job was to transmit military traffic by radio and telephone in their native language. It was a code the Japanese never cracked. This is the inner kernel of the script for WINDTALKERS.
Nicolas Cage plays Sgt. Joe Enders. He's already demonstrated his ability to follow orders. In the Solomon Islands campaign, his unit fought to the last man - Enders himself - to defend some piece of scummy swamp. After recovering from injuries, Joe is assigned as guardian to a newly enlisted Navajo, Pvt. Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach), who's a rookie radioman in a Marine recon outfit that's part of the assault on Saipan. Joe's orders are to protect the Navajo code "at all costs", which means, in effect, that Enders must be ready to kill Yahzee rather than allow the latter to be captured by the enemy.
Director John Woo has buried the nugget of a pretty good story in so many dead bodies and special effects that it's virtually lost to view. Woo must have been trying to outdo WE WERE SOLDIERS and BLACK HAWK DOWN in body count. Even when the beleaguered Marines discover they're almost out of ammo, they still manage to mow down the onrushing Japanese in scores. Joe Enders himself, suffering the guilt and rage from being the only survivor of his former Solomon Islands unit, is a one man killing machine seemingly capable of storming Tokyo single-handed. The hapless Ben finds himself put in harm's way as he's forced to trail along after his minder and watch the carnage. The combat action isn't even always plausible.
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We owe so much to the Native Americans who used their special language skills to send coded messages which the enemy never could interpret. The Japanese code-breakers said it sounded like the Americans were talking "underwater.".. This movie is about those brave Native Americans who never made an error sending the messages. The American officer in charge at Iwo Jima said that the US could not have won that bloody battle if it had not been for the Navajos who sent coded messages on the battlefield and at sea... The acting is great and there is plenty of action in this war movie. The only minor shortage of the movie I saw was the limited amount of actual Navajo talking in the film. But that doesn't detract from the movie. It has the action and heroics of "Patton" and is similar to "Saving Private Ryan" in that a specific officer was assigned to protect one of the Navajo "code talkers" even if it meant killing him to avoid him falling into enemy hands.
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